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Select an ISP

Wherever you go, we can go too!RemoteDesk e.Commerce integrates to most ISP's with shopping cart facilities.
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An Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides you access to the Internet for a fee. Many ISPs also offer the technology you need to create and maintain an online store. The cost of additional options such as email, forwarders, database support, subdomains, usually depends on the amount of products you sell and features of your store.
It is important that the ISP is capable of providing you with the level of service that you need to maintain your site.

Here are some things to consider:

Create a list of requirements
    Create a listing of your sites requirements, broken down into 3 categories, must have, like to have, future have. This will help to ensure that the ISP and design you choose have a built-in expansion path. Web sites grow very quickly. Along with these considerations, for a store you also have to evaluate the number of items you plan to have in your store, desired features (discussion groups, forms, automatic shipping and tax calculations, etc.), and payment methods.

Research ISPs
Look for the best matches
    From your selections, you want to look for an ISP with at least a lengthy track record, references, and experience. Hosting and supporting web stores is much more complicated than offering dial-up accounts for personal homepages.

Contact your chosen ISPs
    Compare your list of requirements with any feature comparitives they have on-line, or e-mail them a copy of your requirements and request them to verify they can satisfy these.

Evaluate their responses
    You will receive several types of replies:  none, standard autoresponders or incomplete, and complete replies.   Only consider the complete replies, because at a time when they are vying for your business, if their response times are under par now, when you need critical support how forthcoming will it be once they have your money in their pocket.

Check out support policies
    When you are merely accessing the web, there is very little contact required with your ISP. However, when you are setting up your site, and maybe even a store, you will need constant interaction with your ISP during this period as you familiarize yourself with their system. You need 24-hour email and if possible phone support. To test, email the support desks of each of your prospective ISPs and monitor how promptly and completely they respond.

Up Time
    Your site needs to be up 24/7. Your customers need to be able to access your Web store at all times; so you never lose out on an order. Check out the ISPs guarantee with respect to backup procedures, up-time, and guarantees. Stay clear of ISPs who donít have clear policies in place.  You cannot be compensated for lost sales by being given a discount on your monthly fees. 

Connection speed
    When your visitors arrive, you want the site to load quickly, and be able to handle your traffic, as well as the traffic of everyone they are hosting. Your customers must be able to access your store easily and quickly.  It is recommended you select an ISP with connections through a minimum of two backbone carriers.  If one backbone carrier is malfunctioning, thereís another route through which your data can be sent.  Another benefit of 2 carriers is that the ISPís router can monitor each link and choose the one that will get your data to its destination the fastest.

Control Panel
    Choose an ISP that will let you access and update your site at any time through FTP and uploads, plus an ISP that provides control panel features which allow you to set up and modify your own email addresses, autoresponders, subdomains, store item uploads, etc.  Avoid ISPs that do not have a control panel.

    TIP:All of the above are very important, but the best general advise we can provide is ask others what ISP they are using, and what they think. We have personally been through 7 ISP's, all who have advertised with great enthusiasm, and offering 7x24 tech support, with no down time, and e.Commerce facilities, however when it came time to using those features, they weren't always as promised. Talk to anyone you know who is on the web in a somewhat large fashion, and find out what the strengths and weaknesses of their ISP are. Also, don't let price fool you, the most expensive is not always the best.

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